The biggest jobs left: Floors and Doors

There are only 2 big jobs on my short list right now: floors and doors. There’s also a whole bunch of little things that I’ll talk about next time.

I’ve decided to have the floors done. Because I think it’s the only way to stay sane and still finish the house before my 65th birthday. The Irishman has a guy I should call saved in his phone, but I’ve been trying to get this guy’s number for 2 weeks and I’m starting to wonder if something fishy is up, but it’s probably just his ADD in overdrive. Anyways, I’ve gotten numbers from reputable sources for three other contractors and they’re all coming in this week to give me estimates!

As for what I want on the floors, I have 3 different types of flooring, and I think I said before that I’m planning on using water based poly and no stain. For aesthetics, my living room floor must be light. That’s really the only constraint I have. A dark stain would hide the border. And though I could use a light stain if I wanted to, no stain is a lot cheaper. Picture them lighter than this. And not wavy from a botched sanding job.

Living room, front

Living room, front

The oil vs water debate is important. My understanding is that a good catalyzed water based poly is the best thing I can get. The Irishman told me that I should insist upon a good catalyzed oil based poly that isn’t legal anymore. He wasn’t joking. I’m leaning away from his advice because I’ve read that

  1. The best water based polys are better than the best oils anyway.
  2. I like the idea of my floors being really light and oil based poly ambers them and then continues to yellow over time.
  3. Oil based poly is bad for the environment and environmental regulations exist for a reason.
  4. Oil based poly stinks to high heaven and needs to cure a lot longer before you can walk on it.

The Internet tells me that top of the line water based finishes that take pro level skill to use are great. Like Bona Traffic. Of course the Internet also tells you every viewpoint under the sun, but this is the one I think I believe. Feel free to tell me your experiences though.

Then there are the doors. I thought they were all ready to stain. But I thought this mainly because I was delusional. They had rough spots, raised grain, and globby bits of varnish residue pretty much everywhere. I’m working on sanding them and figuring out what to do with the holes. Then I’ve already decided to use a tinted finish on them to even out the color. This will darken them to a mahogany color. It looked like this would just darken them a little, but they’ve lightened up quite a bit since then. I still think it’s the way to go.


Here are some of the flaws I won’t be hiding. The doorknobs had roses and keyhole escutcheons first, then were updated with rectangular back plates. I’m going back to the original and leaving the back plate outlines. I might put a dark filler in these holes.


But here’s a hole that’s not so okay. Yes, you can see right through to the bathtub. Do you think a dark tinted filler will do here? One co-worker says I should drill it out and put a dowel, but I don’t think I want to cut out the well-worn hole that’s already there and would rather just plug it with something that won’t change the look.


4 thoughts on “The biggest jobs left: Floors and Doors

  1. infinitequery

    I’m really impressed with the spurt forward in your race for a comfortable lovely home. I know the initial efforts are long -boring and can be tedious but all’s well that ends beautifully. And send the Irishman a standing ovation from a fan-wish he were my neighbor.


  2. Mary Elizabeth

    Re: the peek-a-boo hole in the bathroom door. You could (1) put a can outside the door and charge people to watch you bathe or (2) fill in the hole with stain-able wood putty. 🙂 Talked it over with DH, and he and I agree that the grain ends of the wood dowel won’t accept stain very well. It won’t look nice. You could use Bondo, but that only works if you are going to paint the door.


  3. Jo

    Good call on professionally refinished floors. For some reason they make it look easy and take a lot less time than the rest of us. I had my floors refinished when I moved in 18 years ago — red oak on the downstairs and pine on the 2nd floor — I have never been sorry. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music



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